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What is DuckDuckGo and should you be using it?

Just seen a nifty new DuckDuckGo search option pop up on your Android blower but unsure what it is? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine with a difference, or so it claims. Founded in 2008, the alternative search provider wants to help search-users reclaim their online privacy.

It’s a pretty small outfit at DuckDuckGo, the company employs 81 people. That’s an absolutely miniscule amount compared to the 100,000-plus people employed by Google parent company, Alphabet.

The company’s site reminds readers: “If you’re unfamiliar with DuckDuckGo, we’re the leading provider of privacy protection tools to help you seamlessly take back control of your personal information online. We’ve been providing a private alternative to Google for over a decade.”

“You deserve privacy. Companies are making money off of your private information online without your consent. At DuckDuckGo, we don’t think the internet should feel so creepy and getting the privacy you deserve online should be as simple as closing the blinds.”

So, what exactly does the well intentioned minnow do differently?

Simply put, the search engine makes your search private. It doesn’t collect data from you and the IP address of every user remains hidden and protected. Equally, DuckDuckGo doesn’t use cookies to follow you across the internet and figure out what other stuff you might be interested in.

Conversely, if you search on traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing, then your computer shares information with the site you visit. This information could include your IP address, your original search term, where you were referred from and more. (Yes, even in ‘private’ mode!)

DuckDuckGo argue that giving all this information away shouldn’t be the default position, as it currently is in the world of search.

That’s an argument that’s pretty easy to get on board with considering the ever-growing list of data-related scandals, including famous incidents like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, (which one Facebook employee recently, and shockingly, referred to as “a total non-event” in an internal memo).

Facebook and Apple made a rare appearance at CES to talk about privacy and data last week, but consumers remain slightly nervous around the way big tech companies and search providers use data. For those who are particularly data-aware, who want to take back control of their online footprint, DuckDuckGo is a fantastic option.

In terms of functionality, it will get most things done. Test it with basic searches and you’ll likely get the same results you would have if you’d fired up Google. Maybe the occasional more complex search might require Google’s complex algorithms, but most really don’t.

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